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Kan. Proposed Law Would Allow Teachers To Spank, Leave Marks

A state lawmaker has proposed a bill allowing parents, caregivers and teachers to strike a child up to 10 times and leave bruising or redness.
Posted at 6:54 AM, Feb 18, 2014

A Kansas lawmaker wants to allow parents, teachers or anyone else with permission to care for a child the right to spank them until it leaves marks.

"A Democrat named Gail Finney wants to expand the current law, which allows spanking without leaving marks. Her bill would allow adults to spank a child up to 10 times hard enough to leave redness and bruising." (Via WBZ-TV)

"Now, this is drawing heavy criticism from groups that say it is child abuse." (Via WCPO)

Wichita lawmaker Gail Finney says the bill is designed to restore parental rights, and her supporters believe children are losing respect for authority.

The proposed law first started getting widespread attention Monday after a Kansas City TV station profiled it. Local child abuse experts called it a bad idea. (Via KCTV)

AMY TERREROS, PEDIATRICS NURSE: "Twenty, 30 years ago, we didn't sit in car seats, and yet we do now. So maybe they did spank or were spanked as a child, but now we have research that has shown that it is less effective than timeout."

The merits of corportal punishment are widely debated. A simple Google search "does spanking work medical study" turns up almost uniform results calling spanking ineffective or harmful.

One of the top results, the American Psychological Association, noted the United Nations issued a directive in 2006 calling physical punishment “legalized violence against children.”

Of course, those are search engine results mostly dating back only through the last couple of years, and supporters of the law have made it clear they want a return to practices of an earlier generation when spanking was more widely accepted.

Finney consulted with a county attorney on the bill who said, "This bill basically defines a spanking along with necessary reasonable physical restraint that goes with discipline, all of which has always been legal." (Via KWCH)

The attorney said the bill makes it clear hitting a child with your fist, hitting the child in the head or using a belt or switch would not be considered legal under the proposed law. Again, it's just a proposal. It hasn't even been brought up for a vote yet in committee.